The word "nice" is often overused and misunderstood. Today, I have a healthy definition of the word "nice," but when I was a young girl in an alcoholic home, I thought being nice would make everything OK. When used in the context of giving someone pleasure and joy, with no expectation of a reward and with no hard feelings, well, being nice is a beautiful thing!

Choosing to brighten another person's day is a gift, and the unexpected return that often comes our way is a gift we receive. When we do a good deed or say a few kind words, a warm feeling radiates from our hearts, spreading our joy outward. When we act from that place in our hearts where love and compassion dwell, our kindness travels far beyond our reach and is truly transformational.

Kindness comes in many forms. Sometimes it may be as simple as a friendly smile, and other times it may be as significant as inconveniencing ourselves when someone desperately needs our help. But please keep in mind that being nice does not mean you always put yourself last, or that you allow yourself to be used and abused. It's never an act of kindness to give in to someone's wishes if it hurts or harms you in any way.

Being nice to others and the planet starts with a foundation of being nice to ourselves. When I do something nice for someone, I'm left with a feeling of peace, a warmness in my heart, and a smile of satisfaction, knowing I've contributed to another person's well-being.

I invite you to do so as well! These 10 simple tips can help you be a bit nicer to anyone and everyone in your life:

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1. Lend a helping hand to someone who seems to be struggling physically or emotionally. Lend your ear or a ride, for example.

2. Offer words of encouragement and hope to someone facing a challenging task.

3. Give a sincere compliment by really noticing what makes someone stand out. The key phrase here is "be in the moment and notice."

4. Support others efforts by taking on a task that will carry them closer to their goal.

5. Be present and listen with focused attention when interacting with someone — no cellphone, TV, or tablet.

6. Give a thoughtful gift for no other reason than "just because."

7. Make a comforting gesture, such as a hug, when someone you love seems out of sorts. Your light and warmth can make a transformational shift in others.

8. Bring levity and laughter to a situation where tensions are high. You can become a master at changing the subject in a very subtle, beautiful way.

9. Spend quality time with someone doing their favorite thing. Just imagine the greatness in this!

10. Smile!

Spread your seeds of kindness every day, cultivating a beautiful garden of love, compassion, courage and peace.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


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